I need to talk about loss.
The picture above is of a tree planted in memory of a friend of mine who passed away almost exactly a year ago. She was amazing. We sat next to each other in choir when I was in 8th grade and she was in 9th, and we instantly clicked. She was my friend through crushes, heartaches, dating my first boyfriend, losing my first boyfriend to a drunk driver, emotions, parental issues, personal stresses, good grades, bad grades, spiritual growth, mistakes, lost loves, engagement, marriage, having kids, questioning things, losing a job, moving various times, marital stress, bad choices, depression….she never left. Ever. And then she was gone. She left a husband, two beautiful daughters, a caring family, and numerous friends. Her influence was widespread in her part of this world.
It still hurts. I received a package from her mother recently containing pictures. from years ago. there were happy memories and there was some sadness because I wish I could pick up the phone and call her still. That is selfish I know. Her body was broken by sickness, and she is whole now. How selfish of me to want her here. But I have to say that I could use her now. I could use her…steadfastness and honesty and patience and….that certainty that she would be there no matter what.
Death is a terrible loss because it is so clear curt and final. But in some ways that makes it easier….because it is so clear cut and final. There is no teetering on the precipice, wondering IF it will happen, then wondering WHEN it will happen….wondering why, what could I have done…….okay, actually there is that. But death is out of our control really. And even if we are dead wrong, we tend to think that other losses are IN our control somehow. I’m not sure they are….but I know I tend to think that.
Loss makes us question. With my friend the question was easy. Though losing her was painful, it never entered my mind to question whether knowing her had been worth it simply because of the pain of her death. Other losses are not always so clear. Heartbreak makes us question those things. We question our choices. We question what we see in the mirror. We question whether we…..matter. Maybe we shouldn’t, but we do. Or at least I do.
I always said I’d rather be hit by a bus than linger…sick,,,not knowing when or if I would survive for months or years. I kind of feel that way about all loss really. It’s the same reason that even as a young child I ripped the band aid off instead of scraping it up millimeter by millimeter the way some of my friends did.
Today I wish I could lie under a tree like that, curled up, so that I could both remember and forget.